In the October 8, 2007 issue of Newsweek, Teri Hatcher reveals her painful story of surviving sexual abuse as a child. By sharing her story, Hatcher “hopes to help other victims.”
I tell you this story with trepidation. But my fear is far outweighed by what I know is my obligation to help other victims of sexual abuse to not feel alone. To inspire other victims to realize that their lives do not have to be paralyzed by guilt and shame; they do not have to be defined by victimhood. And to convey to each and every damaged girl or woman that it is not her fault. Unfortunately, many, many girls are victims of sexual abuse. So even as we fight evil abroad, the evil of this abuse lives on in our neighborhoods…
He touched me and asked if it felt good. I said no and he said, “well, someday it will.” Who would ever think four simple words could do so much harm: “Well, someday it will.” Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Maybe that’s where all my adult guilt came from. Maybe that’s why when I ate caramel coated with chocolate or had pleasurable sex or won an award or got a great job, just moments after the elation, I’d be slammed with an overwhelming urge to punish myself. Because at the core, I felt I was bad. I felt that I caused it. That it was my fault….
For me, this opportunity, this turning point, gave me a chance to face a very old but still raging fear. I can’t say that a victim of abuse is ever completely healed. But this experience allowed me the space to feel validated, vindicated and, frankly, not crazy. It was not my fault. If this has happened to you, you may want to contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network at rainn.org. I wish you strength and love, and a journey that leads to your own realization that you are lovable, worthy and deserve good things. If it hasn’t happened to you, count your blessings and do something in your community to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone you know.
The full column is available here.